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Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Committee Leaders 749

cold fjord writes "There are new developments in the ongoing controversy engulfing the NSA as a result of the Snowden leaks. From The Hill: 'Emerging from a hearing with NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), the senior Democrat on the panel, said Edward Snowden simply wasn't in the position to access the content of the communications gathered under National Security Agency programs, as he's claimed. "He was lying," Rogers said. "He clearly has over-inflated his position, he has over-inflated his access and he's even over-inflated what the actual technology of the programs would allow one to do. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do." ... "He's done tremendous damage to the country where he was born and raised and educated," Ruppersberger said. ... "It was clear that he attempted to go places that he was not authorized to go, which should raise questions for everyone," Rogers added.'" U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has also told the E.U. justice commissioner that media reports surrounding PRISM are wrong: "The contention it [PRISM] is not subject to any internal or external oversights is simply not correct. It's subject to an extensive oversight regime from executive, legislative and judicial branches and Congress is made aware of these activities. The courts are aware as we need to get a court order. ... We can't target anyone unless appropriate documented foreign intelligence purpose for the prevention of terrorism or hostile cyber activities." Meanwhile, Bloomberg has gone live with a report (based on unidentified sources, so take it with a grain of salt) saying that private sector cooperation with snooping government agencies extends far beyond the ones listed in the PRISM report. "Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said." Whatever PRISM turns out to be, the NY Times is reporting that at least Yahoo, and probably other tech companies as well, tried to fight participation in it. Other reports suggest Twitter refused to participate, though there's been no official confirmation.
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Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Committee Leaders

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  • Quite a dilemma (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:45AM (#44007617)

    Do I trust (a) the people who supposedly work "for" me yet refuse to explain what work they perform, or do I trust (b) the guy who claims to expose what work they perform?

    In other words, do I trust the people who have already (repeatedly and continuously) proven their lack of respect for me, or do I trust the guy who hasn't yet had a chance to prove his respect (or lack of) for me?

    This is a tough one.

  • Whistleblower laws.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:53AM (#44007751) Homepage Journal

    are useless if you need to blow the whistle on the persons making up the laws who argue _in a secret court_ that their actions are lawful because of *secret reasons*.

  • by SpaceManFlip ( 2720507 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @11:59AM (#44007819)
    This is like the US Gov't version of the Chinese astroturfers, I bet.
  • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @12:09PM (#44007961)

    I fully expect news to surface that he was into drugs, has been accused of sexual assault, a slacker and general no-good person. We already have the slacker/stupid angle (he didn't graduate high-school!). Maybe they can find somebody who said that he smoked pot at some point, and his girlfriend is probably going to be labeled a stripper, or at least her pole-dancing video is the only thing anyone is ever going to mention.

  • Re:Of course. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gander666 ( 723553 ) * on Friday June 14, 2013 @12:16PM (#44008049) Homepage
    Don't forget the speculation that he is gay.
  • by phrostie ( 121428 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @12:32PM (#44008307)

    if it's all lies, then he hasn't revealed any secrets.

    if he hasn't reviealed any secrets, then he hasn't committed treason.

    let see if the US governments actions match their words.

    do they try to arrest him for not revealing secrets?

  • by coId fjord ( 2949869 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @12:48PM (#44008457)

    but spying on innocent people is absolutely outlandish.

    Spying on innocent people is immoral. What I meant was that the idea of them spying on people in the name of preventing terrorism is not outlandish.

    After all, if I am innocent, then you have no logical reason to spy on me.

    Paranoia. Power. The fact that you might do something in the future. There are plenty of reasons for people to spy on you, but none of them justify the spying.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @01:19PM (#44008793)

    9/11 has been used as an excuse for a lot of things that have been going on a lot longer. In fact the appeal to 9/11 is a political cheap shot aimed at convincing the sheep to accept not only the sheering but also the slaughter for the good of the herd.

    I respectfully offer:

    Icebike's invigoration of Godwin's Law:
    In the course of discussion of security, at the expense of liberty, freedom, and privacy, those who first mention the specter of 9/11 or airplanes flying into buildings, have lost their argument and have surrendered all pretense to rational discussion.

  • Bingo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @01:25PM (#44008855)

    That said, it seems that finger pointing creates headlines and generates click revenue these days, so back to our regular two-party mudslinging system we go, ironically in the name of capitalism.

    This is exactly why most (all?) of the founding fathers where against political parties; and so their fears have come to pass.

    Hell, Jefferson was against even allowing corporations! I suppose this is one reason why he is now willfully ignored by the right wing.

  • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Curunir_wolf ( 588405 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @01:39PM (#44009033) Homepage Journal

    Like most things, the truth is probably in the middle.

    I used to think so, but I realize now it is actually not the case. The game is to stir up a controversy with two sides argument from seemingly opposite positions, while both are actually working to obfuscate the real truth, which is never revealed and most don't even look for it. It's a clever slight-of-hand, a distraction from the real issue. Both sides are lying, but the truth isn't in the middle - it's off on a tangent that no one talks about.

    There have recently been a flurry of scandals from DC, all showing up at a time when Benghazi was starting to be looked at very closely. Are they all a distraction from that, or something else. There was recently a "member of Al Queida" that claimed Stevens was the victim of a botched kidnapping attempt. I think that's probably true - but I don't buy that it was planned by Al Queida. You can speculate about who may have planned it, I won't do that here.

    The IRS scandal is pretty quirky, too. The issue has actually been known about for a couple of years, and all of a sudden the IRS agent in charge releases the admission in an unrelated conference call. What's that all about?

    You don't even hear about Fast and Furious anymore, even though it has come out recently that it may have actually been intended to arm the largest Mexican cartel in an attempt to eliminate all the smaller competition. With only one large cartel left to deal with, they could, in theory, be brought under control and reduce the loss of innocent life. That may be a laudable goal but who would be supportive of the method??

    I had a point to all this that I think I've lost. I guess it's just that you always have to look deeper AND at the bigger picture. Looking for the truth in the middle is a terrible strategy.

  • by berashith ( 222128 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @01:52PM (#44009205)

    this is my interest also. If he is lieing , then how has he done damage?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @01:54PM (#44009219)
    "The Federal Government has been taken over by and is being run by world class morons at every level."

    The U.S. government is EXTREMELY corrupt:

    1) $2 trillion lost to financial manipulation, no court cases.

    2) $3 trillion lost to invading Iraq to help investors like Bush and Cheney make money from oil.

    They say, "Oh, they have this HUGE spying program, but they weren't using it against anyone but terrorists." Would members of Congress be told?
  • by The Moof ( 859402 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @01:55PM (#44009237)

    After all, if I am innocent, then you have no logical reason to spy on me.

    Perhaps you are innocent, but match a behavior profile just enough that they monitor you. What does the profile consist of? That's the beauty of secret programs - we don't know. For all we know, it gets modified to suit a purpose as needed.

  • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @02:05PM (#44009337)
    I completely agree and am amazed at how many people don't know the history of unchecked gov't surveillance even just in the US.

    The sticky wicket question though, is even if they say they stopped it at some point in the future, how do we know they actually stopped it?
  • by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) on Friday June 14, 2013 @02:32PM (#44009615) Homepage Journal

    I know this isn't going to be a popular opinion with the Slashdot crowd, but here goes anyway...

    There's been plenty of information about the NSA's program for more than TEN years. U.S. Citizens, however, trusted that their government was doing the right thing when the NSA was constructing its electronic dragnet because it was right after 9/11.

    So honest question: What makes you believe that the government is doing "the wrong thing" now? I'm being serious here, because as far as I can tell, nothing that Snowden has said has proving that the NSA is abusing what it's been doing. If he had some documented evidence, for example, that the NSA had used its surveillance capabilities to spy on someone for non-terrorism political purposes, things might be different.

    From what I can tell, the programs at the NSA are designed only to collect the data. It's specifically to avoid this situation:

    Steve: Ha ha, you capitalist pigs, I've blown up buildings and killed hundreds of your citizens!
    NSA: Hello, Verizon? We have a warrant, could you please pull Steve's phone records for the past five years so that we can see who he's been hanging out with, to see if maybe there's a mastermind here that we can take down?
    Verizon: Gee, we wish we could help, but our data retention policy is that we purge those records after a year. Sorry, but here's what we've got, hope it helps.
    NSA: Well, shit, we think that Steve was radicalized back in 2009, we could really use those records. Hey Google, any chance you've kept his emails?
    Google: Sorry, nope. We can tell you that he sure does like My Little Pony and prefers Angel Soft brand toilet tissue, though.
    Dan: Remember Steve? Well, I'm his buddy and now I have blown up buildings and killed hundreds more people, ha ha!
    NSA: Fuck.

    In other words, I don't think this is an inherently evil program, as long as it has proper oversight, assurances that it can't be abused, and that the oversight and legal framework under which it operates is transparent. That is, none of these secret laws that we have currently. There are some Congresscritters that are currently working to make those laws public, which is a Good Thing(tm). Assurances that it can't be abused would come in the form of auditing. This isn't unheard of, it's the same kind of auditing that, for example, holds credit card companies accountable for ensuring that the customer service person you talk to when you call their 800 number doesn't write your card number down and carry it out with them to go shopping with that night.

    Of course, oversight is always the sticking point. When George W. Bush was in office, Democrats didn't trust him to carry out proper oversight of these programs, but Republicans simply brushed off criticism saying, "Just trust him, he's a nice guy, he wouldn't do that kind of evil stuff." Now that Barack Obama is in office, Republicans are crying foul. Oversight needs to be in the form of non-partisan courts and subject to multiple levels of scrutiny, and we the public need to be aware of what kind of system is in place to oversee this stuff.

    Otherwise, you and everyone else decrying these programs are going to have to accept that without them, people WILL needlessly die, that we could have prevented it and deliberately chose not to. And when they do and there's an outcry over how awful it is that our intelligence organizations failed us so miserably, you're going to have to be on the front lines defending it, explaining to an angry and grieving public that those lives were simply the price we have to pay for freedom and privacy. And if you think that it's a small price to pay for freedom and privacy, then more power to you. But instead of getting all butt-sore about the NSA, PRISM, or the Bush and/or Obama administrations, the actual EFFECTIVE recourse is to lobby your Congresscritters to repeal or amend the USA PATRIOT act. Because for all of the wailing an

  • Re:Of course. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 14, 2013 @04:02PM (#44010623)

    You can say that; you're a straight white guy. Millions of people rightly feared a Romney administration.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.